The Prompt: Circuitous Paths—A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.
I know you’re in a hurry ‘cause you really need to gas up,
but there’s a special place near here you really shouldn’t pass up.
It’s a pool with thermal water where you could swim and play.
I’ll even give you passes so you won’t have to pay!
Just go to my corner and turn right and drive until
you come to the clubhouse. It’s just one block down the hill.
Turn into the entrance and park in the parking lot.
You’ll see the pool down below with water steaming hot.
I’ve got suits in every size and color here for you to borrow.
Just take them home to dry and you can bring them back tomorrow.
And after you have had a soak or done your final lap,
perhaps you would enjoy a little massage and a nap.
There’s a really gorgeous spa that’s just a half mile from our pool.
A mile-square Aztec temple, it is really, really cool.
A family of stone carvers have worked there for thirty years.
Masters all, their artistry is simply without peers.
First two huge plumed serpents frame a staircase up the mountain;
and when you’ve reached the top of it, a hot volcanic fountain
spills into a chamber beneath house-sized Olmec head,
where you can float away your worries in this watery bed.
Then a few short steps away, kind hands await you there
to massage away your worries and remove every care.
This time isn’t free, but it will be worth every cent.
Believe me, you will never have a regret that you went.
An hour later, you’ll feel liquid flowing down that stair.
Every tension gone from you—removed from toe to hair.
And at the bottom of the stairs, near one more thermal fountain,
a string of temazcals are carved into the living mountain.
Little individual caves with natural heat and steam
coming from volcanic water passing in a stream.
The view is of the lake below and also your own mind.
The introspection fostered there is one that’s hard to find.
Afterwards, you’ll wander a short distance farther down
to a huge palapa restaurant with a menu of renown.
The view from it, amazing: mountains, lake, volcano,
village, palms and flowering trees, spread out far below.
Have a drink and have a meal before you must depart.
And on your way, take time to view their pre-Columbian art.
The carved stone steps, the vine-swathed pillars—artistry abounds.
Everywhere you look in these enchanting magic grounds.
Chac Lan, or Monte Coxala is what they call this place.
The Lake is Lake Chapala that lies spread out at its base.
And further up the hill, just a mere few blocks away,
is another place you’re welcome if you want to stay—
the place I always come back to, no matter where I roam.
The name is “Casa Florencia,” but I just call it home!
The thermal waters are here, too, the artistry and flowers.
Beneath the towering palms and vines and bougainvillea bowers,
Quetzalcoatl winds his sinewy self above my door.
and carved in stone, holds wide his mouth so waters from it pour
into my pool, steaming hot, to mix with water cooler.
The measurement of pleasure here is not done with a ruler,
but by gauging mentally how cares might pass away
on this hill called home where the plumed serpent holds his sway.
Afterwards, drive down the hill a few blocks, perhaps eight.
The guard will bid you good-bye as he opens up the gate.
Turn right at the Carretéra and a mile or so away
is where you may gas up and then be on your busy way!
These pictures are all of my house. If you’d like to see Monte Coxala, use this link.